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Texas reports nearly 5,700 new cases of COVID-19; virus claims 3 more lives in Central Texas

Nearly 5,700 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Friday in Texas and the virus has claimed three more lives in Central Texas. (File)
Nearly 5,700 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Friday in Texas and the virus has claimed three more lives in Central Texas. (File)(Phil Reed)
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 4:06 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 6:19 PM CDT
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(KWTX) – The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 5,870 additional COVID-19 cases Friday, 5,682 of them new, raising the statewide total to 815,678.

McLennan County health officials reported two more deaths from the virus and state data showed another death in Bell County.

The Central Texas death toll may be as high as 364, but according to state data Friday at least 344 area residents diagnosed with the virus have now died, including 95 Bell County residents, three more than the local count of 92; nine Bosque County residents; 13 Coryell County residents, one more than the local count of 11; five Falls County residents; four Freestone County residents; four Hamilton County residents; 15 Hill County residents; nine Lampasas County residents; 10 Leon County residents; 16 Limestone County residents; 124 McLennan County residents, 10 fewer than the local count of 134; seven Milam County residents; 29 Navarro County residents, 10 fewer than the local count of 39; and four Robertson County residents.

Another 173 confirmed cases of the virus were reported Friday in Central Texas, raising the regional total to at least 23,430.

Two Central Texas counties, Robertson and Falls, are considered hotspots for the virus because of increases in the number of confirmed cases.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has locked down the San Saba Transfer Facility because of an outbreak of the virus and the William P. Hobby prison unit in Marlin, with almost 300 active cases, remains on lockdown, as well.

Gov. Greg Abbott is sending medical personnel and equipment to the Texas Panhandle to counter a surge in the virus. A hundred medical workers should arrive in Amarillo and Lubbock by Sunday.

The virus is surging as well in El Paso County, where officials are tightening restrictions, ordering nonessential businesses to cut back to 50% capacity and again barring visits to elder care facilities.

The total number of cases in the county was more than 31,000 Friday.

Abbott has also deployed medical personnel and equipment to the region in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus.

Statewide, health officials reported 81,090 active cases of the virus Friday. A total of 719,478 patients have recovered.

The state also reported 91 additional deaths Friday, increasing the statewide total to 16,903.

At least 4,248 patients were hospitalized statewide Friday and almost 110 were in hospitals in the two Trauma Service Areas that include most of Central Texas.

Hospitalizations as a percentage of total hospital beds in both regions remained below the 15% threshold set by Gov. Greg Abbott in his executive order allowing counties to opt in to a plan to reopen bars at 50% capacity,, but COVID-19 hospitalizations as a percentage of all hospitalizations rose was above 15% for a second day Friday in the region that includes McLennan County, which could affect restaurant operating capacity.

Officials have declined to allow bars to reopen in Dallas, Harris, Bexar, El Paso, Nueces, Webb and the Lower Rio Grande counties as well as in most West Texas counties.

More than 7.2 million tests have been administered statewide and the Lab Test Date clinical positivity rate was 7.85% Friday, up slightly from 7.69% Thursday.

Just one of the state’s 254 counties remains free of the virus.

BELL COUNTY

The Bell County Public Health District reported 49 additional cases of the virus Friday, increasing the county’s total to 5,958.

Of the total, 468 cases were active Friday and 5,398 patients have recovered.

State data, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post, rose by 56 to 6,015 Friday.

Local data showed 92 deaths, but state data showed 95, an increase of one.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard, which hasn’t been updated since Oct. 9, still showed four current cases and a total of 124 since Aug. 1 on Friday.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas, showed a total of eight cases involving students and four involving employees since March and no active cases Friday.

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed a total of 68 cases involving students and 108 involving staff since March 16. The district Friday reported one case involving a student at Cedar Valley Elementary; one case involving a student at Harker Heights Elementary; one case involving an employee at Ira Cross Elementary; one case involving an employee and one involving a student at Meadows Elementary; one involving an employee at Montague Village Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Mountain View Elementary; two involving students at Peebles Elementary; one involving a student at Skipcha Elementary; one involving a student at Audie Murphy Middle School; one involving a student at Charles Paterson Middle School; one involving a student at Liberty Hill Middle School; one involving an employee at Early College High School; four involving students at Harker Heights High School; five involving students and one involving an employee at Killeen High School; one involving an employee and two involving students at Shoemaker High School, and six involving employees at non-campus facilities, five of them in transportation. Starting Monday the Killeen ISD will allow principals on each campus to decide whether allowing teachers to specialize in remote or in-person instruction, which could lead to some schedule changes.

The Temple ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed four cases at Temple High School, and one at Cater Elementary.

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed one case at Belton Early Childhood School; two cases at Chisholm Trail Elementary; one case at Leon Heights Elementary; two cases at Southwest Elementary; one case at Tarver Elementary; one case at North Belton Middle School; four cases at South Belton Middle School; two cases at Belton High School, and one at Belton New Tech High School.

A temporary state COVID-19 testing site will remain from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Killeen Special Events Center at 3301 South WS Young Dr.

Registration is required.

The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute food from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at Temple College.

The health district has created a guide for safe holiday practices that’s available online.

BELL COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported two more deaths from the virus Friday, an 87-year-old woman and a 59-year-old man, increasing the virus' toll in the county to 134.

State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 124 deaths.

The health district reported 47 new cases of the virus Friday.

Of the total 514 cases were active and 8,642 patients have recovered.

Fifty nine patients were hospitalized Friday, 16 of them on ventilators.

The newly confirmed cases involve one resident who ranges in age from 1 to 10; ten residents ranging in age from 11 to 17; seven ranging in age from 18 to 25; one ranging in age from 26 to 29; five in their 30s; five in their 40s; seven in their 50s; seven in their 60s; four in their 70s, and one who is 80 or older.

Free COVID-19 test sites are in operation in the Waco area after the federal government provided 40,000 test kits to McLennan County as part of the effort to stem the spread of the virus. Additional details are available online.

An additional COVID-19 test site will be open on Saturday in downtown Waco where about 10,000 saliva-based tests will be available. The free tests will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Square. Those who want to be tested should avoid eating, drinking or brushing their teeth for at least 30 minutes before the test is administered. Officials recommend residents register online in advance. The free tests are in addition to 30,000 self-administered nasal swab tests now available at several sites in the city. Information about times and locations is available online.

Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 106 active cases Friday, eight fewer than on Thursday, and a total of 1,168 since Aug. 1. Those with active cases include 75 students, 26 staff members, three faculty members and two contractors. Fifty cases have been confirmed over the past seven days for a seven-day positivity rate of 3%. Baylor’s homecoming game Saturday against Oklahoma State has been postponed until Dec. 12. The Waco-McLennan County Health District has given the university 5,000 COVID-19 tests for students who live off-campus. Tests will be distributed from Oct. 19 to Oct. 30. The university will continue regular surveillance testing in addition to the off-campus surge tests.

The McLennan Community College dashboard showed six active cases Friday, five involving students and a total of 113 confirmed cases over the past three weeks, 99 of them involving students.

The Waco ISD dashboard Friday showed a cumulative total of 40 students, 42 staff members and four classified as “other” have tested positive for the virus since Sept. 28. The district reported one case Friday at Dean Highland Elementary, one case at J.H. Hines Elementary; one case at Kendrick Elementary; one case at Mountainview Elementary; one case at Parkdale Elementary; two cases at Cesar Chavez Middle School; one case at Indian Spring Middle School; two cases at Tennyson Middle School, and four cases at Waco High School. University High School’s football game against Aledo Friday night has been postponed. All other high school district games, meets and matches scheduled from Oct. 9 to Oct. 16 have been postponed and all other high school athletic events have been canceled.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed one case involving a student and four involving employees at South Bosque Elementary; two involving students at Speegleville Elementary; two involving students and one involving an employee at Spring Valley Elementary; one involving an employee at River Valley Intermediate; four involving students at Woodgate Intermediate; one involving a student at Midway Middle School; two involving employees and 11 involving students at Midway High School, and two involving employees at non-campus facilities.

MCLENNAN COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

CORYELL COUNTY

Coryell County was still reporting 747 cases Friday

Of the total, 126 cases were active and 610 patients have recovered.

State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates in the county, showed a total of 1,928 active cases Friday and 1,808 recoveries.

State data show 13 deaths in the county, but according to local data the virus has claimed 11 lives in the county including a Copperas Cove man in his 70s who died on April 9 at Advent Hospital in Killeen, to which he was admitted on April 2; a Copperas Cove man in his 60s who was diagnosed with the virus on April 5; a Copperas Cove man whose death was reported on July 8, and a Gatesville man in his 60s whose death was reported on July 12.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Friday was reporting 15 active cases involving inmates and 22 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 99 inmates were on medical restriction and 15 were isolated; eight cases involving inmates and 45 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 357 inmates were medically restricted and nine were medically isolated; three cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville; five cases involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville where 124 inmates were medically restricted, and two cases involving inmates and four cases involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville where 38 inmates were on medical restriction and two inmates were medically isolated.

The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed two cases involving employees at Copperas Cove High School' one case involving an employee at Copperas Cove Junior High, and one case involving a student at Martin Walker Elementary.

The Cove House Free Clinic at 806 West Avenue D, Suite H, is offering free COVID-19 testing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays. Appointments are required and may be made by calling (254) 289-9865.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

FALLS COUNTY

Falls County had 633 confirmed cases Friday, an increase of 10.

Of the total 266 patients have recovered.

The William P. Hobby Unit in Marlin remains on lockdown.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Friday reported 251 active cases involving inmates and 37 involving employees at the unit where 889 inmates were on medical restriction and 251 were isolated. Four cases involving inmates and 10 involving employees were reported at the Marlin Transfer Facility where 76 inmates were medically restricted and five were medically isolated.

The virus has claimed five lives in the county, which is considered a hotspot for the virus because of the increase in cases fueled by the outbreak at the prison unit.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County reported 658 cases Friday, an increase of 13.

Of the total, 552 patients have recovered.

The virus has claimed 16 lives in the county.

The first resident to die was a Mexia woman in her late 50s to early 60s with underlying health conditions who died on March 31 at Parkview Regional Hospital in Mexia after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

NAVARRO COUNTY

Navarro County reported 1,378 confirmed and 482 probable cases Friday.

Of the total, 104 cases were active Friday and 1,717 patients have recovered.

Four patients were hospitalized Thursday.

The county’s death toll stands at 39, according to local data.

State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 29 deaths.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

OTHER COUNTIES

According to the latest figures Friday Bosque County was reporting 381 confirmed cases and 318 recoveries. Revised state data based on death certificates showed nine deaths in the county. The Valley Mills ISD has notified parents and students that remote learning will be suspended effective Oct. 20 “for any student who has demonstrated poor attendance, a lack of instructional engagement, or receives a failing grade for any course in the first six weeks period.”

Freestone County reported a total of 437 cases Friday. Of the total 409 patients have recovered. Four residents have died. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported one case involving an inmate and one involving an employee at the William R. Boyd Unit in Teague where 206 inmates were on medical restriction and one was medically isolated.

Hamilton County was reporting 179 cases Friday. Of the total 136 patients have recovered. Four residents have died.

Hill County reported a total of 753 cases Friday, an increase of 11, and 636 recoveries. Fifteen residents have died. The Hill College dashboard Friday showed two active cases involving students at the school’s Hillsboro campus. The Hillsboro ISD Friday reported one case involving a student at Hillsboro Junior High, three involving students at Hillsboro High School and one involving an employee at an administration and operations facility.

Lampasas County was reporting 294 cases Friday and 241 recoveries. Nine residents diagnosed with the virus have died. The Lampasas ISD is among eight Texas school systems participating in a pilot program to conduct rapid COVID-19 testing of employees and students, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday. The districts will be provided with rapid antigen tests that will be administered to students, with written permission from parents, and to teachers and staff members who choose to participate, in the COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot Program, Abbott said.

Leon County reported 316 cases Friday, an increase of 10. Ten patients have died and 235 have recovered.

Milam County reported 537 cases Friday, an increase of three. Of the total, 16 cases were active and 514 patients have recovered. Two patients were hospitalized Friday. Seven residents have died. The Buckholts ISD shifted to remote learning through Oct. 16 after a student tested positive for the virus who was last on campus on Oct. 8.Those in close contact must remain off campus for as long as 14 days. Students return to campus on Oct. 19. Facilities will be deep cleaned and disinfected.

Mills County reported 70 cases and 55 recoveries Friday.

Robertson County had 452 confirmed cases Friday. Of the total, 139 cases were active and 309 patients have recovered. The county is reporting four deaths from the virus. The Bremond City Hall lobby will be closed to the public effective Monday because of an increase in cases of the virus in the community. The Bremond ISD is extending online instruction until Oct. 23 after 11 positive tests for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Extracurricular activities have been rescheduled. The district canceled classes and sent students home to learn remotely last Thursday and Friday after a jump in COVID-19 cases. The county is considered to be a COVID-19 hotspot because of increased spread.

San Saba County reported 109 cases Friday, an increase of six, and 61 recoveries. The San Saba Transfer Facility was locked down Friday. The TDCJ Friday reported 64 cases at the unit involving inmates, an increase of 39, and one involving an employee. A total of 327 inmates are on medical restriction and 64 are medically isolated.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

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